Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 419-422

Assessing the role of routine chest radiography in asymptomatic students during registration at a university in an endemic area of tuberculosis

1 Department of Radiology, Yaounde Gynaeco Obstetric and Pediatric Hospital, PO Box 4362, Yaounde, Cameroon
2 Department of Pneumology, Yaounde Jamot Hospital, PO Box: 4021 Yaounde, Cameroon

Correspondence Address:
Moifo Boniface
Radiology Department, Yaounde Gynaeco Obstetric and Pediatric Hospital, PO Box 4362, Yaounde
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.105122

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Context: Routine chest radiographs are usually obtained from asymptomatic individuals during routine medical visits probably to detect the presence of occult disease. In sub-Saharan countries tuberculosis is endemic among young individuals; primary tuberculosis might be the most probable occult disease sought for. Aims: The aim was to determine the diagnostic yield and cost-effectiveness of routine chest radiography in an asymptomatic student population in Yaounde during registration at a university. Settings and Design: A cross-sectional descriptive study carried out in a University-affiliated hospital in Yaounde, Cameroon. Materials and Methods: Postero-anterior (PA) chest radiographs were obtained from students during a routine medical visit before university admission. Radiographic results were coded as normal, minor, or major findings. The estimated cost per radiograph was that of the study setting at the time of the study. Statistical Analysis Used: Epi Info software version 3.3.2 of February 9 2005 (CDC Atlanta) was used for statistical analysis. Results: Of 758 students enrolled, there were 280 males and 478 females (sex ratio 1:2). The mean age of the study population was 21 years (age range 15-33 years). All enrolled cases were asymptomatic. There were 739 normal radiographs (97.5%), while 19 radiographs (2.5 %) showed minor abnormalities. No major abnormality was seen. The estimated direct cost of all the radiographs obtained was 3,941,600 F CFA ($ 8,760). Conclusions: Routine chest radiography has a low diagnostic yield in asymptomatic students even in a setting where tuberculosis is endemic, and is therefore not cost-effective.

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